Mixtape vs. Album: Do Mixtapes Still Matter?

What Is A Mixtape?

A MIXTAPE is a popular form of release for rappers and singers developing their sound and fan base. It is a compilation of songs similar to an album… but there is a difference.

Artists typically make a mixtape when they are independent or looking to get attention from fans or labels with their original style, although this is not always the case.

Should YOU make a mixtape vs. album? Find out below.

Do mixtapes still matter today?

It really depends on what kind of artist you are and what you’re trying to accomplish, as well as the songs you’ve made or have already – or like to make.

Your style or preference comes into play when you’re deciding whether to release a mixtape or an album.

The differences between the two really come down to the reception you want – and the feedback and opinions you’ll get after what your release.

Why is that?

Because there are different expectations for each. People expect different things from a mixtape than they do from an album.

Let’s go over the differences and why you should release one or the other. If you have new hip-hop songs, you’re going to need to make a choice soon anyway.

Do established artists make mixtapes, or is it just an indie thing?

Established artists sometimes release mixtapes with new hip-hop songs that didn’t fit on their album, for instance – or leftover songs that they’ve created and never released. Oftentimes, they don’t follow the same theme throughout as an album typically does.

Mixtape lyrics can be about anything, so established or unknown artists can release them without worry.
A good example of this is Drake’s smash hit mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”

A good example of this is Drake’s smash hit mixtape “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.”

What is the difference between a mixtape and an album?

Mixtape vs. Album

Check out this video below by Rob Level to get his take on a mixtape vs. album:

A mixtape is basically less organized than an album. While it can be album length, it is usually a collection of songs without a theme.

To be clear, mixtape lyrics CAN have a theme – but don’t have to.

An album is a coherent collection of songs that move within a certain theme or work together as a whole.

Albums are often about a time in the artist’s life, an event, or songs featuring stories or ideas relating to the same idea.

They also typically have a musical style that works over multiple songs, so there is a natural planned flow to the album that takes listeners through to the end.

So how is that different from a mixtape?

With hip-hop mixtapes, there is less pressure to make everything work together (as an artist would on a full, formal album).

It is understood that the songs may not unite as a group, and that’s ok.

It’s even in the word ‘mixtape‘ – there’s a mix of things in there.

Some songs or vibes might go together, and some might not.

A hip-hop mixtape can feature an artist either alone or with collaborations from other artists.

Is a mixtape better than an album?

When deciding whether you should make a mixtape vs. album, it definitely depends on where you are in your career, and what your strengths are as a rapper.

If you’re the kind of artist that creates songs that link together or tie back to each other, it’s probably better to go for the album release.

Releasing a united, coherent album shows your artistry has a certain level of maturity and focus in a way that a mixtape might not.

If you can benefit from that kind of attention, you should do it.

Should I make a mixtape?

If you’re a highly creative artist who makes all different kinds of tracks, a hip-hop mixtape would probably better suit your needs.

Mixtapes are also good for artists who have a lot of unreleased music they are trying to drop at once, where the songs don’t necessarily relate to each other or a general topic overall.

There is generally less pressure for greatness with mixtapes and mixtape lyrics.

What are the benefits when you make a mixtape?

There are definitely reasons to make a mixtape instead of an album.

An album with a ton of different sounds or styles of music might be labeled as “too complicated” or “unfocused,” while a mixtape with the same line up can be praised as creative and interesting.

You need to anticipate and prepare for people’s expectations based on the music you have for release and decide after that.

New hip-hop songs are definitely treated differently by audiences based on the way they are released.

Put some thought into it and really choose the release that’s right for your music and career.

How do I get my Lyrics on point?

Artists work for years developing and working on their sound. If you’re interested in getting better, or even just starting out, we highly recommend our rap lyrics course:

How To Write Rap Lyrics Like A Genius teaches you how to write like the popular artists killing it on the charts today.

Anyone has the ability to get better, they just have to try.

We break it down super easy and make it possible to write dozens of quality songs in a day.

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